Another birthday has arrived for yours truly. This one is number 52. I was born on Saturday, October 18, 1969 at 4:44 a.m. at Druid City Hospital in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
For years, excitement used to shiver down the spine of mine every October 18th. A smile was often planted on my face the entire day.
I'll give the X credit. For the first 10 years we were together, she always assembled a steak dinner at a restaurant with her parents, sisters and their spouses, maybe a pair of couples. Presents (usually from her) and a cake followed.
I appreciated that. The last two years we split and in that time, I stopped eating her cooking.
Until I turned 18, my mother had a cake and cooked my favorite dish. Cash from a few relatives usually followed.
I am a simplistic person. Having someone think of me in small doses usually work in the form of food and cake.
I have nearly 3,000 friends on my personal Facebook page and I can't get 1/10 or 300 to wish me happy birthday. A few years back, the highest ever was 420.
It's one of the downfalls of being single, particularly when the love interest doesn't make an effort to make things happen (Another woman may end up 'stealing' me away someday, but that's a story for another day).
In recent years, I often celebrate my birthday on another day with a steak dinner. I often work on my birthday and the 2021 version is no different.
I may try to celebrate Tuesday out of town if I can get off at a reasonable time and buy myself a book. Odds aren't good with that, when you're working with a disabled person who slows down work for several hours and can't get out of their own way.
October 18, 2021 is another birthday edition for me. It might turn out like the Bangles' 1986 hit, another "Manic Monday." We shall see.
Labor Day weekend is always a fun time for me.
It's the opening of college football season. Returning to the state of Alabama, I get to follow the Crimson Tide exclusively.
Between 1992 and 2017, when I worked at The Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald, it was not as enjoyable as it is now. Co-workers were either alumni of Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, a Georgia and Florida one here and there.
Whenever Alabama was on TV and I watched and from their reaction, you'd thought I was an alien from Mars or Saturn.
One person who worked in another department and a former Ole Miss football player used to walk in the newsroom made one of the dumbest remarks I ever heard.
"I'm always rooting against Alabama because Governor George Wallace wouldn't let that sister go to class," the person said.
While others exploded into laughter. I stared deeply into the person's beady eyes and shook my head. The ignoramus played at Ole Miss, where the school constantly waves the Rebel flag. Guess the person never saw the movie Mississippi Burning.
We all remember the Civil Rights Movement began in Selma, where I currently work. The Magnolia state played its role in cross burning and treating black people like shit.
I worked under a person who was a diehard Mississippi State fan. If it didn't involve cowbells, the person wasn't interested. (Not even for a future Pro Football Hall of Fame QB named Brett Favre). The other MSU person who had a temper hotter than a summer day in Alabama was not much better.
A former co-worker once said LSU fans and Mississippi State are the most misinformed group ever and I couldn't agree more.
LSU fans put out the dumbest rumors about Nick Saban leaving there to coach the Miami Dolphins: "He caught cheating and his wife told to leave LSU or she divorce him."
Once Saban got to Alabama, the LSU fans obsession went overboard.
I did a sample test question at a LSU Gulf Coast alumni meeting for 20.
Question: If Nick Saban was still the coach at Alabama, how many would still love him?
Answer: All 20 raised their hands.
Question: The six trophies at Alabama under Saban, how many of you think they should be in Baton Rouge?
Answer: All 20 raised their hands.
It's not my fault these teams can't beat Alabama.
Facebook brings back those memories, which is why I don't log in on Saturdays. Thank God that fans don't run these teams.
At least where I am now is between Alabama and Auburn, although the Crimson Tide enjoys a comfortable margin.
Former Auburn coach Pat Dye said it best: "Auburn could win four straight national titles, Alabama will always be the dominant program."
I've lived in Selma, Alabama for the last three years, several miles away from hurricanes and tropical storms.
During a 26-year journalistic career with The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Mississippi, names like Ivan, George and Katrina are forever locked inside my head.
Thought I was done with hurricanes.
Not so fast.
Last year, Hurricane Zeta roared through the Black Belt and damaged buildings in Selma and knocked off power for three days during Halloween week.
Sixteen years after Hurricane Katrina stamped itself in my life, Hurricane Ida may leave a mark.
Co-workers are obsessed with Ida, as if they resided on the Coasts of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi and in the danger of losing their homes.
The Black Belt won't be impacted by Ida, except heavy rainstorms and possible tornadoes over the next three days.
In this area, we're used to tornadoes and flooding roads.
I've got a Pulitzer as part of The Sun Herald's coverage of Katrina in 2006. While I am proud of the honor, I rarely discuss that unless people ask me.
I don't mind. It's part of my life on the Gulf States, where I don't live anymore.
I've been in the newspaper business for 29 years and one of my goals was realized last week.
I was named Managing Editor of The Selma Times-Journal. When I became a reporter at The Biloxi Sun Herald in 1992, my ambition was to move up the newspaper chain.
While several of my contemporaries quickly became editors within the first 10 years of their careers, I remained at the same spot.
Doubts began to pop inside my head. In 2014, I finally moved up and became Sports Lede (Sports Editor) at the Sun Herald.
Four years later, I got laid off and eventually landed at The Selma Times-Journal as News Editor. I got promoted three years later. Once I clean up the mess the person I'm replacing, I'll be able to navigate a direction alongside my successor.
The other dream of mine is becoming a working screenwriter, a difficult task. I'll continue to pursue that impossible goal.
Seven years ago, I decided to pursue the most difficult stage of my professional writing career.
The odds are against me having success as a screenwriter. I read somewhere that only two percent make it as a screenwriter, meaning 98 percent probability that I fail.
I've got no problem with that. I've battled adversity my whole life, especially since entering the world on October 18, 1969 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I learned how to read and write at the age of four and was gifted, but most of the family made fun of my talents and did not support me.
Spiritually, God has successfully guided me every step of the way. I don't understand it sometimes, but he always find me for me to survive. I've learned over the years when I prayed, God gives me what I need to make it. I eventually learned that God allows to hang me in there with what I've got. My hometown church and the district connected to it always supported my endeavors growing up. I never found that once I left the hometown and pursued a newspaper career.
Man made, it's a different story. I've found success as a screenwriter, winning 34 best screenplay awards over the last few years.
When I post my winnings on Facebook, I rarely get over 100 likes and comments. That's a low number, especially since I have 3,000 friends. Upon further review, I see former high school and college classmates pile up and like what our fellow friends post.
It felt like high school and college all over again. Getting my ass kicked two straight years by the eventual No. 1 college football prospect in Alabama for the Class of 1987, only to see a couple of guys do nothing and make the traveling squad.
I am not in the most distinguished fraternity, but Phi Beta Sigma can battle with any damn Greek organization around. Ask Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith, a pair of Pro Football Hall of Famers and multi-Super Bowl winners.
Several people in the area where I currently work are more supportive than the people I've known for years and that's a shame.
I've formed two circles, one for family and the other with friends, who have supported my endeavors either through Facebook or vocally. Each group is small.
If I get the break of a lifetime and win an Oscar or similar award (3 classmates predicted I would), the support group will get their shout-out. Frontrunners and people ride on bandwagons will not be invited.
Memorial Day has remained an important holiday throughout the test of time.
The holiday on the last Monday of May honors the deceased military members and it still doesn't get enough credit.
People around the country use the Monday off from work cooking chicken, ribs, and burgers on a grill and not appreciate the military.
Awards season is always an exciting time for me. From the SAG to the BAFTA and ending with the Academy Awards, known worldwide as the Oscars.
The odds of me crashing the party as a award-nominated screenwriter are a zillion to one. I'd need the break of a lifetime to get the screenplay optioned, then morph into a Academy Award nominated screenwriter.
As it stands, I was nominated for two awards: Golden Merloin Award and Sun of the East Award.
The Golden Merloin Award is a silver trophy given annually by the World Film Carnival-Singapore.
The Sun of the East honor is part of the Tagore International Film Festival.
While I did not win those awards, I was thrilled to get honored. Both are registered in the International Movie Database (IMDB).
Every actor, writer, director and producer strive to get that credit with IMDB because movie studio executives often the site for talent. All four of my feature screenplays, False Start, Getting the Boot, Passed Over and Legal Passion, have a credit on IMDB.
Being part of IMDB is one of many steps toward to get the film optioned, then produced and sent to film festivals.
The 2021 version of Easter holds a special place in my heart. Fixing baskets with Reese Cup Eggs, bunnies, and carrots beside a gift is always fun. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ symbolizes the holiday that begins with Mardi Gras six weeks earlier, followed by Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Good Friday.
It was the first holiday I spent with the family since January 2020, New Year's Day watching Alabama beat Michigan in the Citrus Bowl, setting the stage for another national championship under coach Nick Saban.
During the visit with family, I also found the time to work on my current feature screenplay, an untitled script as the sequel to the award-winning False Start.
With the future uncertain, I look forward to the next holiday, Memorial Day.
Valentine's Day should become an official Federal holiday. Making February 14th a national holiday is probably the only thing Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and Congress could agree on.
Visions of a man dropping off sweet-scented red roses and a box of delectable chocolates or Peanut Butter Cups to a beautiful woman never gets old.
For me, I made Valentine's Day into a weekend since the holiday fell on a Friday. I dropped off red roses, a championship shirt and box of Reese's Peanut Butter cups to my special woman.
Another tradition is lunch with one of my girls. She received a large bag filled with Reese Cup and female cosmetics.
I even got a unexpected gift: a Golden Merloin Award nomination for best feature script by the World Film Carnival Singapore. Legal Passion and False Start are up for the top award.
A Merlion is mythical animal, half lion and half fish.
We're 15 days into 2021 and I'm already tired of it. The uncontrollable chaos in the world and we get a new President next week, but nothing changes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented me from spending time with the love of my life. For the last 10 months, finding "tender moments alone'' have proven difficult. The goal in the spring was to establish a relationship and see where it went. The plan backfired as time quickly passed and before I knew it, school was about to start.
It sucks when the only time you spend together was getting a ride to work while tires and struts are put on your car. You can't propose from the passenger side.
Things unraveled when your mate gets the coronavirus. I'm grateful not to get the virus because we don't live together.
I still believe that we will come together soon, masks or not. The COVID-19 pandemic proved one thing: she means a lot to me.
JK Jones' writing career began as a junior at Holt High in 1986 as as Sports Editor of the Purple Reign, the school's newspaper until graduating in 1988. It opened the door to a long and successful sports writing career. As an author, several of Jones' E-books were best sellers. Jones has shown promise during the early stages of screenwriting. Jones' short screenplay, Instant Replay, was accepted by the Cannes Latitude Film Festival in 2016. Jones' most recent screenplay, False Start, was selected to the Chihuahua International Film Festival in November, 2019. For more information, visit https://www.scriptrevolution.com/profiles/jk-jones.